How are Samaritans different from Jews?
It is my understanding that Samaritans were the descendents of the foreigners who were resettled from another locations into Israel by the Assyrians at the time of the northern captivity to work the land.
II Kings 17:24-28.
More than that, they are the descendants of the intermarriages between the northern tribes and these foreigners. Thus, they held many Jewish beliefs and customs, while also holding many of the pagan religious beliefs and customs. That’s why there was such animosity between them and the Jewish people of Jesus’ day.
Incidentally, it is also why Jesus told the apostles in Acts 1:8 to go first to Jerusalem (the Jews), then to Judean and Samaria (who were more or less the remnant of the northern tribes) and then to the ends of the earth. They started with those closest and moved out to those furthest away (both literally and spiritually speaking).
I’m not at all an expert but I find Samaritans to be fascinating. They seem to believe themselves to be the true Jews. They believe they have the pure religion kept safe from corruptions stemming from the Babylonian exile. They had a sacred temple on Mount Gerizim. They considered this to be the true temple and not the temple at Jerusalem. They offered sacrifice at the temple. The temple was destroyed but, most interestingly, they offer sacrifice to this very day on Mount Gerizim.
The Samaritan Pentateuch is different than the Jewish one.
There are less than 1500 Samaritans -will be gone in 50 years or so
While that is a possibility, it is not necessary a forgone conclusion. Religions have jumped back from worse odds.
Forgive me, but that actually sounds a lot like certain sects of Protestants.